Coinbase is probably the easiest and safest way to purchase bitcoins in the U.S. Unlike BitStamp, Coinbase is not an exchange. They act as a counter-party to all customer trades, you buy or sell your bitcoins directly to Coinbase. The buy/sell fee is 1% on top of the buy/sell spread. The bid/ask is usually close to BitStamp where the firm gets its liquidity from. For example, the current bid is at $635.48 and the current ask is $638.07. In addition to this, the firm has daily limits on the amount of bitcoins bought/sold. These limits are not applied on the individual level. Basically Coinbase has a set amount of bitcoins that it is willing to buy or sell every day. During times or high volatility, users may not be able to buy/sell bitcoins until Coinbase decides to ‘’refill’’ their stock. Here’s a good explanation on this issue from their Customer Support:
While we think that Ethereum may turn to POS in the coming future, we have a fantastic future to mine it at a profit with Genesis Mining. If it DOES go to POS instead of mining, then we can move to a variety of alt coins that are nearly as profitable and every bit as much fun. Give Genesis Mining a go and see why it is better than buying coins directly.

Why submit an order to buy at $370 per bitcoin (XBT) and not $383.17? One may submit an order lower than the current price if one expects the price of Bitcoin to fall. In this case, since my order is lower than other offers in the orderbook, I won’t receive my order for 0.5 bitcoin immediately. Placing an order at a specified price is called a _limit order._ Before placing an order, be sure to check the orderbook for your trading pair.
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If you had started mining Bitcoins back in 2009, you could have earned thousands of dollars by now. At the same time, there are plenty of ways you could have lost money, too. Bitcoins are not a good choice for beginning miners who work on a small scale. The current up-front investment and maintenance costs, not to mention the sheer mathematical difficulty of the process, just doesn't make it profitable for consumer-level hardware. Now, Bitcoin mining is reserved for large-scale operations only.  
The cryptocurrency market, which consists of bitcoin and several other major digital currencies, crumbled June 22 as the majority of the coins dipped by up to 10 percent due to six exchanges in Japan that were ordered by the Financial Services Agency, its financial watchdog, to improve their current practices, and as two exchanges were hacked within an 11-day period.
By October 2009, the world’s first Bitcoin exchange was established. At the time, $1 was the equivalent of 1,309 Bitcoin. Considering how expensive Bitcoin is today, that was a real steal. Bitcoin traded at a fraction of a penny for quite some time. Things started changing in 2010; as the distribution of Bitcoin increased, the digital currency became inherently more valuable.
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